Ning Yan

Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Bioproducts
Distinguished Professor in Forest Biomaterials Engineering

B.Eng, (Southeast), Ph.D. (Toronto), P.Eng., FEIC

Principal Investigator, Yan Lab
Room: ES3037| Tel.: 416-946-8070 | Email:

Director of Low Carbon Renewable Materials Centre
Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering


Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Bioproducts, 2021
Bill Burgess Teacher of the Year Award for Small Classes, 2021
Distinguished Professorship in Forest Biomaterials Engineering, University of Toronto, 2017
Endowed Value Added Wood and Composite Chair, University of Toronto, 2014-2017
NSERC-Discovery Accelerator Supplementary Award (DAS), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Canada, 2012
Connaught Innovation Award, University of Toronto, 2011
Early Researcher Award, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, 2007

Research Interests

Biobased Chemicals and Products from Renewable Biomass

With increased global concern over environmental issues, there is a strong interest in developing sustainable technologies to derive fuels and chemicals from renewable feedstock. Renewable biomass materials are particularly attractive since they contain large amounts of renewable carbon and a variety of biochemicals with potential applications for a wide range of industries. They are well suited for producing biochemicals and materials replacing fossil fuel derived products for a more sustainable society. Our current research covers: extraction, deconstruction, conversion of biomass to chemical precursors and intermediates; synthesis and development of novel bio-based polymers, adhesives, resins, and polyols; design and production of lightweight biobased composites and foams; utilization of cellulose, lignin, extractives, starch, and biocarbon for industrial applications, green lignocellulosic based devices and wearables, etc.

Smart and Functional Materials

We are developing smart and functional materials, such as super hydrophobic coatings, nanocomposites with superior strength, flexibility, and toughness, electrically conductive CNT, graphene, and conductive polymer in combination with lignocellulosic materials as sensors and energy storage devices, and wearable electronics.

Selected Recent Publications

Xiaozhen Ma, Chang Zhang, Pitchaimari Gnanasekar, Peng Xiao, Qing Luo, Shuqi Li, Dongdong Qin, Tao Chen, Jing Chen, Jin Zhu, Ning Yan, “Mechanically robust, solar-driven, and degradable lignin-based polyurethane adsorbent for efficient crude oil spill remediation”, Chemical Engineering Journal, 415, 128956, 2021.

Nicole Tratnik, Pei-Yu Kuo, Nicolas R Tanguy, Pitchaimari Gnanasekar, Ning Yan, “Biobased Epoxidized Starch Wood Adhesives: Effect of Amylopectin and Amylose Content on Adhesion Properties”, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 8, 49, 17997–18005, 2020 (Featured as supplementary journal cover)

Nicolas Roland Tanguy, Haoran Wu, Sandeep S Nair, Keryn Lian, Ning Yan, “Lignin cellulose nanofibrils as an electrochemically functional component for high‐performance and flexible supercapacitor electrodes”, ChemSusChem, 14(4), 1057-1067, 2020 (Featured as VIP paper and journal cover)

Pitchaimari Gnanasekar, Martin Feng, Ning Yan,“Facile Synthesis of a Phosphorus-Containing Sustainable Biomolecular Platform from Vanillin for the Production of Mechanically Strong and Highly Flame-Retardant Resins”, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 8, 47, 17417–17426, 2020

Heyu Chen, Pitchaimari Gnanasekar, Sandeep S Nair, Wenbiao Xu, Prashant Chauhan, Ning Yan, “Lignin as a Key Component in Lignin-Containing Cellulose Nanofibrils for Enhancing the Performance of Polymeric Diphenylmethane Diisocyanate Wood Adhesives”, ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, 8, 46, 17165–17176, 2020

Pitchaimari Gnanasekar, Jing Chen, Shrestha Roy Goswami, Heyu Chen, Ning Yan, “Sustainable shape memory polyurethane from abietic acid: superior mechanical properties and multiple shape recovery with tuneable transition temperatures”, ChemSusChem, 13(21), 5749-5761, 2020

Heyu Chen, Prashant Chauhan, Ning Yan , “Barking” up the right tree: biorefinery from waste stream to cyclic carbonate with immobilization of CO2 for non-isocyanate polyurethanes”, Green Chemistry, 22(20), 6874-6888, 2020 (Featured as Editor’s Choice)

Zhenyu Wang, Pitchaimari Gnanasekar, Sandeep, Sudhakaran Nair, Ramin Farnood, Songlin Yi, Ning Yan, “Bio-based epoxy synthesized from vanillin derivative and its reinforcement using lignin-containing cellulose nanofibrils”, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 8(30), 11215-11223, 2020

Jing Luo, Ying Zhou, Qiang Gao, Jianzhang Li, Ning Yan, “From wastes to functions: A new soybean meal and bark-based adhesive”, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 8(29), 10767-10773, 2020 (featured as supplementary journal cover)

Tanguy, Nicolas; Wiltshire, Benjamin; Arjmand, Mohammad; Zarifi, Mohammad; Yan, Ning, “Highly Sensitive and Contactless Ammonia Detection Based on Nanocomposites of Phosphate Functionalized Reduced Graphene Oxide/Polyaniline Immobilized on Microstrip Resonators”, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 12(8), 9746-9754, 2020.